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Reigning champions hoping to taste more success at Swim Serpentine

Four reigning champions will return to this year’s Swim Serpentine intent on defending their titles in the para swimmers one mile race.

Susie Rodgers, Nerys Pearce, Iain Dawson and Louis Hines all won gold medals at last year’s event and they will all be back in the Serpentine again on Saturday 22 September.

Multi-Invictus Games medallist Pearce, 36, is undefeated at Swim Serpentine having won the S5-S6 category race in both 2016 and 2017 and she will be looking to make it a hat-trick of titles in 2018.

Pearce, a former paramedic in the British Army, was paralysed from the chest down in 2008 when she was knocked over by a car in London while on her motorcycle.

Since the accident Pearce has competed in many sports and won 10 medals at the 2016 Invictus Games in powerlifting, rowing and athletics. She also represented Wales at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in powerlifting.

Last year’s Swim Serpentine was the first time Rodgers had ever competed in open water after an illustrious career in the pool which saw her win a gold medal in the 50m butterfly at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio and three bronzes at the London 2012 Paralympics. Rodgers is the favourite again in the S7-8 category.

Other names to look out for in the elite women’s para field are Lizzie Tench who represented England in the first ever Commonwealth Games paratriathlon in Australia earlier this year and 2012 Paralympian Nikki Emerson who is competing in all London Marathon Events-organised challenges this year to raise money for Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research and The Walkabout Foundation.

Nicholls, who is a board member of London Marathon Events, has already completed The Vitality Big Half, Virgin Money London Marathon, Vitality Westminster Mile, Vitality London 10000 and Prudential RideLondon with Swim Serpentine being her final challenge of the year.

In the elite men’s para race, 20-year-old Hines returns after a dominant win in the S14 category last year while Dawson was the S13 category victor.

The para swimmers one-mile race takes place at 0900

Swim Serpentine also has mass-participation half-mile, one-mile and two-mile swims going off in 12 waves throughout the day on Saturday 22 September.